Adam Liaw, ambassador of Japanese Cuisine

Last Friday night, the 31st of March, I went to Melbourne University to see Adam Liaw speak. Adam was the second winner of Masterchef Australia, in 2010. He was born in Malaysia, his mum is Singaporean-English and his dad is Hainese Chinese. Formerly a lawyer for Disney in Tokyo, Adam started learning Japanese in order…

WabiSabi Deliciousness

Last week I visited my very favourite Japanese restaurant outside of Japan. I felt the need to write about it here, so those of you living close by, or visiting, can go give it a try. Also, I just wanted to share the photos of the food. It is truly stunning, and always elicits a…

New Year’s Day in Japan

New Year’s Day in Japan is, like New Year’s Eve, a spiritual and significant time. Many people visit their local Shinto shrine on the 1st, 2nd or 3rd of January. Known as 初詣(hatsumode-or first temple visit) this is very important. Last year we arrived at Harajuku station on the 2nd of January, to find an…

New Year’s Eve in Japan

I spent last NYE in Kyoto, and to say that this year is a bit of a let down is an understatement. I have always found New Year’s to be a fairly meaningless celebration, which is generally a disappointment. I love the potential of a new year… brand new diary, new beginnings, new adventures. It…

Christmas in Japan

I spent last Christmas in Japan. It was pretty amazing, but not in a traditional Christmas-y way. As Japan is Shinto and Buddhist, the “Christian” side of Christmas is pretty much irrelevant. This means, the Japanese take many of the fun and beautiful parts of Christmas and make it into メリークリスマス (Meri-Kurisumasu). Christmas Eve is…

Do many Japanese speak English?

Although I am probably under qualified to answer this question adequately, I’m going to give it a try. For many years, before I did very much travel, I was under the impression that English was quite widely spoken. Gee, I was very wrong… only between 8% and 9% of the population of the world speaks…

Eating out in Japan

When you go to a Japanese restaurant in Australia, or Brazil or Dubai, you are offered a veritable cornucopia of feasting options, including many different types of food. I had no idea that when we got to Japan that all of these delicious foods would be segregated from each other, in restaurants which specialize in…

Kanji, how does it make sense?

When I first started learning Japanese, I was very intimidated by the concept of learning so many Kanji. A basic knowledge is about 2000 characters, but there are loads more!!! I am reading a book about learning Japanese, which is written by a man whose father was a newspaper editor. He believes his father’s repertoire…

Japanese Etiquette 101- Surgical masks

Upon arriving in Tokyo the first time, you may mistakenly assume you have arrived during some kind of epidemic. Many people (my kids and I estimated around 25%) of the population wear surgical masks when out in public. At first, I found it slightly confronting. Only because it’s difficult to ascertain someone’s mood by looking…

Japanese Etiquette 101- Pay on the tray…

I had no idea when I went to Japan that change trays existed outside of restaurants, or that they would be used in every cash transaction I would make in Japan. But they were. My first slightly awkward experience was within a very short time of disembarking my flight. The JR ticket office at the…